A man-made disaster triggered the worst of last year’s Forbes CEO screwups list, when BP chief Tony Hayward committed a series of public gaffes in the wake of the April 2010 Gulf oil spill, and then resigned the following October.
This year, forces of nature created the backdrop for the boss behavior we deem the worst: Masataka Shimizu, head of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., known as Tepco, largely disappeared from public view after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami set off the worst radiation release since Chernobyl. Subsequently, reports surfaced that senior Tepco engineers had known for years that five of the company’s ten nuclear reactors in Fukushima prefecture had a dangerous design flaw. But the company failed to make upgrades, dooming the reactors to a series of meltdowns and explosions when the 45-foot tsunami hit. Following the disaster, Shimizu made few public appearances, checking himself into a hospital for a week. He resigned in May.
Read the rest of the story: Japan nuke boss tops list of 2011 CEO screwups.